Ireland’s qualification for Euro 2012 was given a fillip as Armenia beat Slovakia 4-0 in Zilina meaning if Ireland can win their final two qualifiers in October they are guaranteed at least a play-off place.
Yura Movsisyan opened the scoring in the 57th minute and the Slovaks struggled to gain control of the game thereafter.
Just over ten minutes later Henrikh Mkhitaryan added a second and the Slovaks were caught on the break by a slick passing movement that allowed Gevorg Ghazaryan to shoot home into an empty net before Alexander Sarkisov added a fourth in injury time.
The fallout from the shock result means that if Slovakia can recover in time to draw with Russia next month Ireland could top the group with wins against Andorra and Armenia.
Placed 71st in FIFA’s rankings, Armenia now join Slovakia on 14 points, one behind Ireland as they prepare to play Macedonia and travel to Dublin in what is now a crucial match in the group in which four teams are still in contention going into the final fixtures.